U.S. BARS IRAQ CONTRACTS FOR NATIONS THAT OPPOSED WAR: Payback time, for nations that opposed the liberation of Iraq. The New York Times reports:
The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying the step “is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States.”
The directive, which was issued by the deputy defense secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz, represents perhaps the most substantive retaliation to date by the Bush administration against American allies who opposed its decision to go to war in Iraq.
The administration had warned before the war that countries that did not join an American-led coalition would not have a voice in decisions about the rebuilding of Iraq. But the administration had not previously made clear that French, German and Russian companies would be excluded from competing for the lucrative reconstruction contracts, which include the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure and equipping its army.
Under the guidelines, which were issued on Friday but became public knowledge today, only companies from the United States, Iraq and 61 other countries designated as “coalition partners” will be allowed to bid on the contracts, which are financed by American taxpayers.